William Federspiel, PhD, Director of the Medical Devices Laboratory of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the William Kepler Whiteford Professor in the Department of Bioengineering with secondary appointments in Chemical Engineering and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).  Election to NAI Fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society. Academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Fellow status have been nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation. The 2019 Fellows Gala and Induction Ceremony will take place on April 10, 2020, at The Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ.

Dr. William Federspiel joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh in 1995 as an Associate Professor. He received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester in 1984 and has held academic positions in biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University and Boston University. His past industrial experience includes being a Principal Staff Scientist at ABIOMED Inc., a Boston based artificial heart company, and a Research Scientist at the Biomechanics Institute in Boston, a nonprofit bioengineering think tank. In addition to his current academic position, Dr. Federspiel is a Founder of ALung Technologies, a Pittsburgh-based medical start-up company, for which he serves as the head of the scientific advisory board.

The major research theme of the Medical Devices Laboratory is the development of medical devices whose therapeutic function stems from biotransport and bioseparation processes and which can be translated for near-term clinical use in critical care medicine.  A span of Dr. Federspiel’s research interests include:

  • Design and development of novel artificial lung devices, including respiratory support catheters and paracorporeal assist lungs, for near-term clinical use in the treatment of respiratory failure in patients with acute, acute on chronic, or chronic lung insufficiencies.
  • Design and development of membrane and particle-based blood purification devices for the selective or semi-selective and patterned removal of pathogenic antibodies, inflammatory mediators, and other blood borne solutes for near-term clinical use in critical care settings.
  • Advancing the development of novel artificial lung platforms for future applications by combining microfabrication and fiber technology with cellular and biomolecular components to create biohybrid artificial alveolar capillary units and bioactive hollow fibers with improved gas exchange efficiency and capacity.
  • Developing improved transport models and understanding of polymer degradation and drug delivery from nanoparticles and microparticles.
  • Advanced application of fluid mechanics and mass transport principles to model and optimize artificial lungs and other membrane-based medical devices where functional performance depends on underlying transport or separation principles that dictate the device characteristics.
  • Development of mathematical and computer simulation models related to respiratory and cardiovascular fluid mechanics and mass transport.
  • Development of oxygen depletion devices for blood storage systems that will extend the shelf life of red cell units and deliver red cells of higher efficacy and lower toxicity for transfusion therapy.

Dr. Federspiel has over 100 peer reviewed journal articles or book chapters published or in press, over 100 proceedings and abstracts, and over 75 invited talks at national and international universities and meetings.

Congratulations, Dr. Federspiel!

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University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering News Release